After eight days at the villa Maurice and I moved up to Udayagiri for 6days, their other property about 40 minutes drive from the Ayurvedic Villas and further up into the mountains.

It is a beautiful property with villas stepped up the mountain side with magnificent view over the plains below and to the sea in the distance. Maurice and I stayed in the highest situated villa and we could lie in bed and look out over the spectacular view. We also had the largest number of steps to climb which was good for us. The sunrises in the morning were beautiful and when we did yoga in the morning we also had a lovely view from the yoga room.

We felt like celebrities there because we were the only guests and all the staff pampered us. There were no other guests as they were still finishing some villas and making some noise but we said that that would not bother us. There are only 7 villas in total. We had a resident frog in the small room housing the computer and there were many varieties of birds singing in the morning. There was forest below us and a large coffee plantation next door.

The lovely cook Girija prepared the most delicious food and her offsider Prabakar served our food and they were both lovely people and very helpful. Giriga gave me some of her recipes which were particular good. We all our food, our daily treatments, massages and consultations with the doctor and the two yoga sessions a day and at $170 for both of us a day to include all of that we thought was very reasonable. That also included the pick up and drop off in Calicut 3 1/2 hours away

I went on Monday the 26th November with Meena, Chaya, Sonia and Gerry from the other property to Mysore for the day. Maurice didn’t want to interrupt his treatments so stayed and was well looked after by the staff. I met the others about 3/4 hour away from Udayagiri and we travelled through the Rajiv Ghandi National Park where we saw spotted deer and elephant. Tigers are also found on the reserve which is not far from Udayagiri but we didn’t see any. At night and during the day you can hear what sounds like shotguns to scare the animals away from the villages and crops.

We stopped at a nice little hotel for a buffet breakfast where we kept to our allowed foods more or less. I did allow myself an egg which tasted delicious.he scenery changed from the lush jungle of the park to a drier plain and then to vast areas of sugar cane, banana plantations and then to market gardens and lush rice paddies.

It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get to Mysore, 50kms with more potholes than road which kept us lurching and bumping from side to side in the vehicle. We had a few good laughs along the way.

We then headed off up to the Chamundi hills and to the temple at the top where there were a lot of hawkers selling all sorts of things. We took our shoes off and went through to the temple. Our coconut was broken in the “coconut breaking area” so it could later be eaten and then we presented the offering we had bought which was then taken and some of it returned to us with more flowers.

We then headed off to the Mysore Palace down on the plain. It was shoes off to walk inside the palace. It was not as opulent as some of the palaces we have seen in the north but still very impressive. We made our way out and met a nice family from Gujarat who were on a bus tour and who invited us to come and stay with them if we came to Gujarat.

We made our way past the obligatory hawker stands which line the way out to the car and then went back to lunch at the same hotel. This time it was a la carte with tasty food and breads.

After lunch we left Gerry to try and get an internet connection and we went off to a silk and handicrafts emporium where the other three girls stayed to choose saris and other materials and goods while I took an exciting autorickshaw ride to first the post office for stamps and then a bookshop to buy some postcards which they didn’t have.

It is a pity we didn’t have David (who wasn’t feeling well and stayed at the Ayurvedic villa) with us as all the autorickshaw man wanted to talk about was cricket. He wanted to know how far from Adam Gilchrist did I live in Perth. When I said it was very close by (which it is) he was visibly impressed. The bookshop said that the Mysore postcards were out of stock and they only had three from other places in India so the little autorickshaw man took me back to the palace to get some not so good small postcards from there. He was really sweet and only wanted 100rupees $2 for the entire run around.

There has been a flurry of activity with welders/tilers and painters at the villas in readiness to accept other guests at the beginning of December. It hasn’t been intrusive at all to us and we loved it there.

On our last day there Prabaker took us to the Irpu waterfall about 45 minutes drive from Udayagiri. In that time we went across the border from Kerala state to Karnataka which is only about 10minutes away from where we were. There were countless coffee estates along the way and some very nice large houses on the properties. Apparently Karnataka produces the most coffee in India. Workers were sweeping large areas of concrete on which the coffee beans dry. They are picked at the end of March.

We left the villa on Friday 30th November at 6.30am and the driver weaved his way up and down the mountains past many small and some larger villages to Calicut where we arrived about 9.30am. Rushhour was starting about 9am when all the schoolchildren in their pristine uniforms and the workers started off for the day. School starts at 9.30am with 1hour for lunch and finishes at 3.30pm.

We stopped at Kalya silk shop which was 5 floors of materials and outfits to buy Maurice a cotton shirt and then to the Ayurvedic medicine shop to buy the powder which has helped him so much with his arthritis. It is applied as a paste and apart from looking like a Papuan New Guinea mud man has done him a lot of good.

We arrived at the station at 10.30am and took the driver who had done a wonderful job to breakfast. Maurice liked him because he said referring to him “old is gold”.

Our nice little waiter from when we arrived was there and he served us chappatis, egg curry and two vegetable curries for a total of $2.

The station was run very efficiently and there were people weeding the tracks and painting the building. We easily found our comfortable sit up carriage which was well marked and left for Ernakulum (Cochin) at 11.35am for the 4 1/2 trip.

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